FACL’s Letter to Justice Minister regarding lack of statistics about diversity of federal judicial appointments

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On February 5, 2015, Global News reported that the Federal Department of Justice does not have any "readily available" information about the diversity of judicial appointments from the past 20 years.  Justice Minister Peter MacKay stated there are no statistics because "some people don't self-identify."

As you may be aware, FACL has long advocated for increased diversity in judicial appointments.  On February 6, 2015, the co-chairs of FACL's Advocacy and Policy Committee, Gerald Chan and Philip Tsui, wrote a letter to Justice Minister Peter MacKay about the lack of information regarding the diversity of federal judges since 1993.  In our letter, FACL posed several questions to the federal government in response to Minister MacKay's responses to the Global News report:

(1)  Does the government keep statistics on the number of judicial applicants who it says do not "self-identify"?

(2)  While the information on the diversity of judicial appointments is not "readily available", and therefore may not be producible within the 45-day time period required to respond to order paper question from MPs, how long will it take the government to gather this information?

(3)  Does the government intend to gather and produce this information so that we may better understand where exactly we stand on judicial diversity in Canada?

FACL hopes that the Justice Minister and the federal government will consider providing a substantive response to these questions.  We continue to welcome the opportunity to canvass these issues with the Minister despite his declining our previous requests for a meeting.

To read the Global News articles and a copy of FACL's latest letter to the Justice Minister, please visit the following links:

Global News - No stats on diversity of judges, government says - February 5, 2015

FACL's Letter to Justice Minister Peter MacKay regarding lack of statistics about diversity of federal judicial appointments - February 6, 2015

Global News - Lawyers ask government why they don't keep diversity stats about judges - February 9, 2015

Liberal MPs, Irwin Cotler (Liberal Critic for Rights and Freedoms and International Justice) and Sean Casey (Liberal Justice Critic), issue statement calling for greater diversity in judicial appointments - February 11, 2015

The above news articles, FACL's latest letter to the Justice Minister, and all prior articles and letters regarding the issue of judicial diversity are archived in the section"Judicial and Legal Diversity in Canada" on our Media page.